Comma Usage in Salutation

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Dan Shea:
In browsing earlier posts, I came across the "Hi John" posting. The various combinations offered are as follows:

1. Hi John
2. Hi, John

I always thought the correct punctuation for this salutation should be as follows:
Hi, John,
Am I right or wrong? Many thanks, Dan
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Don Phillipson:
[nq:1]I always thought the correct punctuation for this salutation should be as follows: Hi, John,[/nq]
You were misinformed. Hi and cognates
(Hello etc.) are not standard greetings for
letters: and where there are no standards
there can be no correct or incorrect punctuation.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
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Adrian Bailey:
[nq:1]In browsing earlier posts, I came across the "Hi John" posting. Thevarious combinations offered are as follows: 1. Hi John 2. Hi, John I always thought the correct punctuation for this salutation should be as follows: Hi, John, Am I right or wrong?[/nq]
I write:
Hi John
I also write:
Dear sir
Yours faithfully
and so on, all comma-less. This is as a result of a typing course I did many years ago. What's the point of a comma if you're going to hit the carriage return at least twice anyway?
Adrian
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Cece:
A person's name, or pet name, should be set off by commas when it is used to address that person in dialogue. "Hi, John." "Have you seen Dave, John, in the last half-hour?" Certain words can become part of the address: "Darling Mary, what have you done?"
The salutation of a letter is written "Dear (name)" and should end with a comma when the letter is personal, with a colon when the letter is business. The complimentary close always has a comma after it. This is the way I was taught: grade-school English class, high-school typing class, every etiquette or secretarial book I've seen and (mumble) years as a secretary.
Even the casualness of email and chat needs a comma: "Hi, John."

Lately, I've been seeing "Hey John, what's happening?" in novels. And I've added this missing comma (between "hey" and "John") to my ever-growing list of pet peeves.
Cece
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Alan Illeman:
[nq:1]In browsing earlier posts, I came across the "Hi John" posting. The various combinations offered are as follows: 1. Hi ... the correct punctuation for this salutation should be as follows: Hi, John, Am I right or wrong? Many thanks, Dan[/nq]
Good morning Dan Shea, hi Don Phillipson, top of the morning to you Chris McCabe, hello Adrian Bailey, greetings Cece, I see no reason for a comma after an 'interjection calling attention' such as 'hi' or any other for that matter.
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Josh D.King:
[nq:1]various[/nq]
[nq:2]I write: Hi John I also write: Dear sir Yours ... to hit the carriage return at least twice anyway? Adrian[/nq]
[nq:1]A person's name, or pet name, should be set off by commas when it is used to address that person ... in novels. And I've added this missing comma (between "hey" and "John") to my ever-growing list of pet peeves. Cece[/nq]
I was told our friend the comma tells us when we can breathe. "Hi, John," - imo - has one too many places to breathe in it. I may start to hyperventilate even before I get to the more important body of a message.
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Larry Trask:
[nq:1]I was told our friend the comma tells us when we can breathe. "Hi, John," - imo - has one too many places to breathe in it. I may start to hyperventilate even before I get to the more important body of a message.[/nq]
Unfortunately, this well-meaning advice is dead wrong. Punctuation has everything to do with structure and nothing to do with respiration.
An example:
"The Hall of Fame second basemen include Morgan, Collins, Robinson, Frisch, Fox, Mazeroski and Hornsby."
I believe that no tolerably literate English-speaker would object to those commas (and most Americans would add one more), but attempting a breath at each one would be most unwise.
As for the original point, I endorse every word written by the engagingly-named Cece.
Now we can have a debate about whether my last hyphen is necessary. This is an issue that appears to divide the community of commentators on usage.
Larry Trask
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Matti Lamprhey:
[nq:1] As for the original point, I endorse every word written by the engagingly-named Cece. Now we can have a debate about whether my last hyphen is necessary. This is an issue that appears to divide the community of commentators on usage.[/nq]
In this example the hyphen performs no function; its presence doesn't aid readability, and no ambiguity would arise in its absence. Are there other arguments for its retention?
Matti
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Alan Jones:
[nq:1]I was told our friend the comma tells us when we can breathe. "Hi, John," - imo - has one too many places to breathe in it. I may start to hyperventilate even before I get to the more important body of a message.[/nq]
Unfortunately you were misinformed. The main purpose of modern punctuation is to clarify the grammatical structure of what is written. This in turn guides the delivery of the text but doesn't relate directly to breathing. If you listen to a good reader or speaker and happen also to have the text in front of you, you will readily observe this. In, say, Shakespeare's time punctuation was indeed to some extent "rhetorical", but in terms more of indicating emphasis than dictating pauses. Four centuries later we have developed a few novel rhetorical features of punctuation, such as assertive dashes and lingering triple-dots, and we distinguish between (?) and (!) where Shakespeare had to make do with just (?), but still the comma doesn't tell us where we can take a breath.
I assume that school teachers spread the notion "comma = breath" because they are for whatever reason unable to teach the grammar (for example, the pupils may be too young to master syntactic analysis). But, as others have explained, it isn't so: "Hi, John" needs its comma.

Alan Jones
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